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For the Bard

April 27, 2011

in random

Yesterday April 26 was Shakespeare’s birthday, well, it was the day he was baptized. Nobody knows the exact date when he was born but traditionally it was celebrated on April 23. I can tell you that on either day there was no Google Doodle for him and “Shakespeare” was not on the Twitter trending topic list.

So there’s that.

I did celebrate yesterday by playing with this randomizer for Shakespeare’s insults: The Shakespearean Insulter

And I have been trying to memorize as many of the insults as I could. You never know when one will come in handy.

Idol of idiot-worshippers!‎

Be put in a cauldron of lead and usurer’s grease, amongst a whole million of cutpurses, and there boil like a gammon of bacon that will never be enough.

We leak in your chimney.

Thou cockered onion-eyed clack-dish!

Thou art essentially a natural coward without instinct.

Thou froward common-kissing scut!

Thou odiferous dizzy-eyed fustilarian!

Thou qualling elf-skinned foot-licker!

Thou puny lily-livered death-token!

Thou loggerheaded fat-kidneyed pumpion!

Thou roguish fat-kidneyed horn-beast!

Thou dissembling folly-fallen hedge-pig!

Thou bawdy earth-vexing whey-face!

Thou paunchy bat-fowling apple-john!


I will be getting up at 4 am to take the first flight out for yet another business trip. A pox upon thee!

While I am away, please try and memorize as many of Shakespeare’s gems and use them on each other.


For the Bard: This is one of the most revealing scenes about the power of theatre I have seen. (And it is from my favorite TV show ever Sports Night. I am still waiting for it to come back the way I am waiting for a chance to see Freddie Mercury live…)



I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being.

— Oscar Wilde, himself a gifted word master excelling at the art of insult

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Some random associations from a picture I took this Sunday.


Can’t hardly wait.

Spring Awakening.

Frank Wedekind

Frank Wedekind who in 1906 gave us a play criticizing the sexually repressed society with depictions of group masturbation and other subjects that scandalized theatre goers.

This quote attributed to Wedekind which made me chuckle because now whenever some trivial disaster happens in my otherwise mundane life, I think, “Yeah, a blog post has written itself!”

Any fool can have bad luck; the art consists in knowing how to exploit it.


The Lulu Plays by Wedekind.

Lulu, the complicated, contradictory femme fatal and victim, in a play that scandalized the audiences in the late 19th / early 20th century with its nudity, implied and not so implicit sex act, rampant confessions of lust and obsession, and an openly lesbian character.

Louise Brooks. Playing the role of Lulu in the movie adaptation of Pandora’s Box.

Louise Brooks. Writing a memoir many decades afterwards, so uncannily described how we feel now when we sit in front of our computers and pour our hearts out…

For two extraordinary years I have been working on it – learning to write – but mostly learning how to tell the truth. At first it is quite impossible. You make yourself better than anybody, then worse than anybody, and when you finally come to see you are “like” everybody – that is the bitterest blow of all to the ego. But in the end it is only the truth, no matter how ugly or shameful, that is right, that fits together, that makes real people, and strangely enough – beauty…





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Jerry! Jerry! Jerry!

December 19, 2010

in random

As in Seinfeld…


When I landed in the U.S. which turned out to be in the middle of corn field and not in NYC or LA, I was often trapped inside my dorm room and therefore I watched a lot of American TV. That’s probably for the better since I needed polishing on not just the English language but also American pop cultures. Nick at Night turned out to be a great teacher.

But the real Sensei for me, in terms of getting integrated into the American Pop culture, is Seinfeld.

It was a struggle for me at first. The show is full of references and references to references. I felt that I needed a secret decoder to decipher the humor underneath the banters. I knew it was funny; I just didn’t know how or why. More puzzling instead. When I finally was able to laugh at all the appropriate moments, and sometimes even at the more subtle points, I knew that I had “GOT IN” the secret club.

We went to see Jerry Seinfeld last Friday. The show was supposed to start at 7 pm, and yet, at 7:20 pm there were still a lot of people getting into their seats. Many of them were either holding a drink or obviously tipsy already. As late as 7:45 pm, there were stragglers wandering in. And throughout the night, until the show ended a little bit after 8:30 pm, people would get out of their seats to get more drinks and popcorn.

Is it just me? Is this nothing uncommon when it comes to standup comedies even though the venue is Chicago Theatre and now some comedy club in a basement somewhere?



I really had fun at the show. I laughed so hard, my stomach hurt, and I found it hard to breath quite often. In fact, my husband told me after the show that he was surprised by how loud my laughter could be (or did he use the word “cackle”? Anyway, after 14 years of marriage, I was surprised that he was surprised by anything. Wow.) I had to press on my temples at several particularly hilarious yet insightful observations that he made for fear that my head might burst from the suppressed urge to jump up and down in vehement agreement.

One example: (Paraphrased below as usual… for I have no photographic memory…)

The problem with being a father is that our role is not clear. A kid’s role? Very clear. A father’s role? FUZZY. We have no idea what we are supposed to do. In fact, there are only two things that are clearly what fathers are expected to do. One is to come home every night, drop your bag on the floor, and yell, “Daddy’s home!” and then expect everybody in the house to drop whatever they are doing and come running.

The other one is AVOIDANCE. We practice avoidance so nobody can see us. (I can’t quite remember what exactly he said in the middle here… It’s funny. Just trust me on this one.)  “WHERE IS YOUR FATHER?” This question is the most often asked inside the house. (At this line I howled with laughter because it is damn true in my household. At the same time I felt grateful towards Seinfeld because it was damn nice to know I am not alone in dealing with the “Husband in Hiding” issue…) … GOLF stands for GET OUT LEAVE FAMILY…



Jerry asked the audience to throw questions at him at the end, and it became obvious that many in the audience were flat out drunk. One guy kept on yelling Festivus! Some gal repeated what she had yelled at the beginning of the show, “Jerry I love you you are the best you are the funniest” (and she did not know when to stop). A very blonde and young girl sitting in the first row told Jerry that she has been watching his show since 1995. Jerry said, “Yes, and I have been on TV for the 15 years before that!” Again, this one did not know when to stop either. She went on full gushing mode. “But I think you are the best and the funniest… blah blah blah.”

“If you turn around now,” Jerry had to interrupt her, “you’ll see that there are other people in this room. It is not just you and me here.” He then tried to make the whole situation funnier for the rest of us, “Sometimes people sitting in the front row are so blinded by their power…”

The question of whether he plans to do another TV show was brought up, Jerry said, “To be honest with you: I am old, rich and tired.” He now gets up in the morning sitting at the kitchen counter with his three kids eating cereals while watching Sesame Street. “I would watch Elmo and laugh at his antics, and I’d thought to myself, ‘Yeah. Let him bust his red furry ass…'”

Some guy from the DRUNK section yelled out, “DO YOU THINK YOU ARE FUNNY?”

Awkward silence in the audience. I guess most people were holding their breath at that somewhat rude question.

“I don’t know. It really doesn’t matter what I think. You guys are the ones paying for the tickets!” At that, thunderous applause.

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A Night with David Sedaris

October 24, 2010 through the looking glass

When I learned that David Sedaris is on a tour for his new book Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary, I knew I had to do something. I checked his agent’s website and saw that he would be in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for a book reading, in addition to book signing. Since I did not think […]


Sundays in My City – A Night at the Opera

August 15, 2010 through the looking glass

Ok. I lied. I went to the theatre with three boys under twelve with ants in their pants, what do you think? Just had to use it in my title because it is THE favorite album of mine, that’s all. We went to see a Broadway musical… in Chicago… I wish I could tell you […]


Go see Mary Poppins live on stage in 2009 (and 2010)!

November 18, 2008 random

We spent a too-short weekend in the New York city some time this year, and the boys fell in love with the city. At first we were worried that they might be bored since there really wasn’t much to do, if you are a kid, once you subtracted museums and walking around and watching people. […]

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